A PARCEL of land is at the centre of a row over where future homes should be built in Basingstoke.
Last week, the borough council’s economic and prosperity committee looked into why the 2,000-acre Manydown site to the west of the town had not been included in the borough’s plans for future housing.
Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners argued that the council-owned land had been unfairly left out of the Local Development Framework (LDF), a housing blueprint for where houses should be built up to 2026.
Currently, the LDF includes 480 homes on Razors Farm, 450 north of Popley Fields, 900 east of Basingstoke and 150 on Redlands.
The committee decided to review the potential for developing Manydown only after the LDF is adopted by the borough council.
Clive Pinder, spokesman for campaign group SOLVE (Save Our Loddon Valley Environment), told the Basingstoke Observer that the motion “kicked Manydown into the long grass”.
But Conservative councillors hit back, saying that residents and the Government’s planning inspector have wanted Manydown to be left out of the debate.
In 2005, the planning inspector threw out plans to build 8,000 houses on Manydown.
And earlier this year, 18 per cent of the 2,418 residents surveyed in a consultation on future new homes development concurred with building on a single massive housing plot such as Manydown.
Manydown has courted controversy throughout the LDF process, which outlines where 9,000 new homes need to go.
SOLVE and ward councillors for Old Basing and Chineham say the current list of sites unfairly targets areas east of the town.
At the committee meeting, calls by Liberal Democrat councillor John Shaw for an independent review into the decision not to include the Manydown site were opposed by the Conservative majority.
The decision not to hold a review was blasted by SOLVE’s Peter Bloyce, who said: “Who would oppose a second opinion unless they were afraid of what it might uncover?
“Instead the Conservatives decided to kick the issue into the long grass.
“Residents will have to resort to the law and the ballot box to be heard, which is a sad commentary on the say of our planning process and local democracy.”
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